Morris re-elected as chairman, pledges focus on economic development
By Susan Smallheer
Staff Writer | March 07,2014
SPRINGFIELD — Kristi Morris was re-elected chairman of the Springfield Select Board on Thursday evening during the board’s re-organizational meeting following Tuesday’s town meeting elections.
Morris was chosen as chairman minutes after he and new Select Board member George T. McNaughton were sworn into office by Town Clerk Barbara Courchesne. Both men were elected to three-year terms Tuesday, with Morris the top vote getter — but only by 36 votes.
Shortly after they took their seats, McNaughton made the motion for Morris to be chairman. He was the unanimous choice of the entire board.
Select Board member Stephanie Gibson Thompson was elected vice-chairwoman.
The board also adopted Robert’s Rules of Order as the governing rules for their meetings, with the provision that the chairman could participate and vote during board discussions.
Morris is starting his fifth year as chairman of the board, and he said Thursday he loves being involved in town politics and having a position of leadership. “Quite frankly, I can’t get enough of it,” he said after his selection.
Morris on Tuesday was elected to his third, three-year term on the board. McNaughton defeated veteran Select Board member Michael Knoras for the other open seat on the board.
Morris, who is engineering manager at Lovejoy Tool Co., said he wanted to give “a big hearty thank you” to all the residents who voted — and passed — both the $10.7 million town budget and the $27.4 million school budget. Voting for tax increases is always a hard thing, he said.
He said he would be meeting with Town Manager Robert Forguites to come up with a list of economic development projects the town is working on or should be working on. He said the list would be ready for the board’s next scheduled meeting March 24.
“We will have a list of project that we have in the works,” he said.
McNaughton had made economic development — and the lack of it — a major plank in his election campaign, and Morris said he was listening.
“We had a very good conversation,” he said of the forums and debates prior to town meeting.
“I got involved in the Select Board because I felt the town was going in a positive direction,” said Morris. “I wanted to become involved.”
The board also agreed to hold two meetings a month, on the second and fourth Mondays, but they immediately moved to make Thursday’s special session the first meeting of the month. Regular meetings start at 7 p.m.